NaNoWriMo Tip #10: Wordiness (Part 1)


Over the next few posts, I will comment on the problem of wordiness and how to avoid it.


As writers we try to create the most prolific prose imaginable, but then again some of us try way too hard.  Here are some ways to avoid it:


1.  Speak Your Lines – Read aloud as you write prose.  Most of us do not speak idn a wordy way and your writing will become more natural.


2.  Revise – Go back and find those sentences that are too grandiose and overbearing.  Simplify, simplify, simplify.


3.  Have Confidence – Do not be afraid that your simplified sentence is not enough.  Sometimes you have to leave it alone.


4.  To Be – Use active forms of “to be” verbs rather than “was”, “were” or “is”.


5.  Passive Constructions – Passive voice can cause your writing to “tell” and not “show”.  Find the thing in the sentence that is doing the action and then make it the subject: “The sandwich was made by the chef” could be “The chef made the sandwich”.



4 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo Tip #10: Wordiness (Part 1)

  1. I know a writer who is also an actor. He actually gets a troop of other actors together to act out his scenes to see how they work – a slightly more complicated version of your first point: Speak Your Lines.

    All your other points will also help cut out those unnecessary words, too. Again, great advice. 🙂

  2. Hey Roger, I’m really appreciating your tips series.

    The latest few are great writing tips, I’m just not sure they are as good as NaNoWriMo tips. When the point is to get the words out and onto ‘paper’ some of these are actually counter productive.

    I will be re-reading the tips series when I come back around to edit and revise my NaNo production later.

    Thanks again for the great posts.
    BTW I’m loving The U.S. After, which I am slowly reading.

    • The tips are intended to be read quickly and I am posting them as briefly as possible. Some of the tips are meant for revision and others for the process of “putting pen to paper”.

      I trained myself to write without “to be” verbs for description, but the style of my current novel gives me a chance to break with that for a while.

      I’m glad you are reading “This Broken Earth”, but shouldn’t you be writing?;)

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